G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

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V. Let us conclude the subject with a few eeflections.

We must not dismiss the subject without these. I have, in part,
anticipated them, it is true ; but it is worth having a second, and a
third, and a fourth, and a continual impression of them upon our
minds.

1. Have we leen saved? Have we been dehvered from the world ?
Have we been built on Jesus Christ ? Has the gospel produced any
effect upon our minds ? Is there any evidence that Christ is our
foundation? Have we come as sinners to build upon him? Ah, my
friends ! these are questions of the first importance ; and a period will



THE SPIRITUAL BUILDING. 189

arrive, in your experience, and in mine, when these questions will put
all others in the shade. When we come to death — and we are coming
to it, and coming nearer and nearer to it every day — and when the
judgment-seat and eternity, with- all its realities, bursts upon us ; these
will be questions of the very highest consideration. 0, be concerned
to be partakers of Christ, and aim to be built upon him ! He is the
only refuge, the only foundation of security and salvation.

" None but Jesu?
Con do helpless sinners good."

There is " no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved."
Let this inquiry be carried home to our hearts, and let the effect of it
enter into our lives. It will be sure to come to us at some period, —

let it come NOW !

2. As God honors human instrumentality in carrying on this blessed
building, how concerned should we all be to be employed in it ! Let each
say, " Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do in this blessed work ? "
If there be a possibility of one arriving at that state of blessedness,
and then saying — " In yonder great world, where I hved for many
years, I never did any thing, I never gave any thing towards the car-
rying on that glorious building, which is now the joy, the admiration
of all ! While the servants of Christ were employed in the most labo-
rious exertions, I never did any thing ; while they made the greatest
sacrifices, I never gave any thing ; while they united all their energies,

1 bad no hand whatever in the work ! " 0, if it be possible for shame
to come across the cheek of a redeemed man, how would he then
blush ! let us, and especially those who have the blossoms of the
grave upon us, let us employ our time, our talents, our all, in this
work. We are all called to do something — to carry stones or timber
to the building, to dig stones out of the quarry,^ or to hew and square
the wood. I might beg of you this evening, but I will not. Read the
text, and meditate upon what is connected with it ; and then withhold,
if you can, if you dare, all that this great and good cause claims at
your hands.

3. It should be our concern to live, and labor, and die, fully assured
of the glory of God, and the glory of the church. Amidst all the
trials of this militant state, amidst all the ravages of death and the
grave, and amidst all the ruins and convulsions of the world, the church
of Christ shall stand. Nothing shall ever be able to cast it down.
For the divine honor, for angels' joy, for man's good, it shall stand, —
for men, for angels, for God, for ever and ever ! Amen.



SERMON XVI.

OPPOSITION TO CHRIST.

BY REV. VV . JAY.

*' He that is not with me is against me." — Matthew xii. 30.

My brethren, the ministers of the gospel are liable to many reflec-
tions, and thej are not always of the same character ; yea, some of
them seem perfectly opposite to others. Sometimes they are censured
for being too lax in their preaching ; and when they proclaim the
unsearchable riches of Christ, and the efficacy of his blood as together
able to cleanse from all sin, and the glory of his righteousness as able
to justify the ungodly, and invite all, even the chief of sinners, to
come to him as they are, and to be blessed with all spiritual blessings
in him — oh ! this is dangerous ; this is licentiousness ; and these, if
they are not ungodly men, are deluded men, who turn the grace of
God into licentiousness, and teach their hearers to " sin, that grace
may abound."

Then, on the other side, they are condemned as being too strict, too
severe ; and when they require persons to deny themselves and take
up their cross and follow the Savior, and to crucify the flesh, with its
affections and lusts, and to mortify the deeds of the body, and to
become not only moral, but godly and Christian, and entirely godly and
Christian — " oh ! this is a hard saying, who can bear it ? " But the
question is, whether it is a true one. We wish to be always tender,
but we dare not to be unfaithful — unfaithful to God, unfaithful to
souls, unfaithful to our subject. And what saith the Scriptures?
Whose lips said, " straight is the gate, and narrow is the road that
leadeth to life, and few there be that find it," whereas, " wide is the
gate, and broad is the road that leadeth to destruction, and many there
be that go in thereat ? " Whose lips said, " He that is not tvith me
is against mef^

Our subject, therefore, this evening is. Opposition to Christ. The
disgracefulness of being against him ; the danger of being against
him ; the possibility of being against him, and the evidence of being
against him. " Consider what we say, and may the Lord give you
understanding in all things."

I. The DISGRACEFULNESS of being against Christ. In order to
make this appear a little, you will observe —



OPPOSITION TO CHRIST. 191

That nothing shows men more than their attractions and aversions.
Mark the objects of their choice and of their preference ; see with
whom they most readily and pleasingly associate ; and then call to
remembrance the adage, " Tell me a man's company, and I will tell
you his character." Congeniality is the inducement and the bond of
union. To be against some individuals would expose you to general
indignation. Which of you would like to be opposed to a Thornton,
a Reynolds, a Howard, a Leighton, a Fenelon? But here we have
the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person.
What a picture of Christ have the four gospels given us ! Look at it ;
and then suffer me to ask, is there any being in the world odious
enough to be against him ? He is possessed of all excellencies ; all
the excellencies found in creatures separately and imperfectly, are
found in him combined and complete. Take all that was innocent in
Adam, all that was tender in Joseph, all that was meek in Moses,
all that was patient in Job, all that was zealous in Paul, all that is
good in the spirits of just men made perfect, all that is wise in the
innumerable company of angels ; and even the aggregate would be
no more to his glory than a drop to the ocean, or a ray to the sun.
To be against him is, therefore, to be against all truth, and righteous-
ness and peace, against the glory of God, and the happiness of man-
kind.

Again : nothing is more unreasonable, vile, and shameful, than to
oppose a Benefactor and Friend, who has laid you under peculiar obli-
gations, upon whom you had no claim, and who has yet spared no
expense, no pains in order to serve you. Lamb of God, that takest
away the sin of the world ! what do we owe thee ! To thee we owe
the bread we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe.

" There's not a gift thy hand bestows,
But cost thy heart a groan."

If we are allowed to remain in the land of the living, it is owing to
thy intercession on our behalf; if we have been redeemed, it is with
thy precious blood ; and if we have entertained a hope of a better
world, thou hast altogether inspired it. And, my brethren, he asks
— and he has a right to ask — " For which of these good works do ye
stone me ? Is it because I remembered you in your low estate ? Is
it becau?e for your sakes, though I was rich, I became poor, that ye
through my poverty might be made rich ? Is it because I bare your
sins in my own body on the tree, and died that you might hve ? "
Against him ! Be against the benefactor who plunged into the flood
to save you from drowning ; be against him who generously paid your
debt, and released you from the confinement of the dungeon, and re-



192 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

stored you to the bosom of your family ; be against your father, who
has been laboring to train you up and provide for you ; be against
your mother, who bare you, and at her bosom fed you ; and you would
be a thousand times less infamous than you are when you are against
him. Were there in mankind the same ingenuousness in religion as in
other things, they would all, every one of them, shun you ; they would
consider you the disgrace and the scandal of the universe. The apos-
tle Paul was not revengeful ; he was the most compassionate man
alive ; and yet when he came to reflect on the case, he made no
scruple to say, " If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him
be Anathema Maranatha."
Let us now look —

II. At the DANGER of being against Christ. There are three ques-
tions which we must address to you concerning this. The first of
which is —

Can you overcome him ? Did ever any succeed in opposing him ?
Is it not the question of Job — " Who ever hardened Wmself against
him and prospered ? Did the old world ? Let the deluge tell. Did
Pharaoh ? Let the plagues of Egypt and the closing waves of the
Red Sea tell. Did Hiel, the re-builder of Jericho ? Let the death of
Abiram his firstrborn, and the death of Segub, his younger son, tell.
Did the Jews ? Let their dispersion and sufferings to this hour tell.
" If," said they, " we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him,
and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."
They said. It does not seem right to put him to death, but state reasons
require it — expediency requires it ; we must perish, or he must perish.
Foolish policy ! and all policy is foolish that is not founded in justice.
And were they preserved from the evils they dreaded by crucifying
him? The crime drew down upon them the very thing, and the
Romans came, and with such cruelty and slaughter as never distin-
guished them in any of their wars , and wrath came down upon them
to the uttermost.

This is an emblem of all those who oppose him. And therefore,
the psalmist says, " Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine
a vain thing ? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers
take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed,
saying. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their
cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh ; the Lord
shall have them in derision." " Thou shalt break them with a rod
of iron ; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." And
so will it be with all his adversaries. War is the most uncertain thing



OPPOSITION TO CHRIST. 193

in the world ; and wisdom says, " Let not him that putteth on the
armor boast himself like him that putteth it off. And the Kevelation
8ays, " These shall make war with the Lamb ; and the Lamb shall
overcome them, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords." And
what are they ? Worms on a dunghill, tampering with their ruin,
their breath in their nostrils, and themselves crushed before the moth.
And this is the case even in their combination too. Hand may
join in hand, but they will not go unpunished. God has said of the
Messiah, " The kingdom and the nation that will not serve thee
shall perish ; " and it matters not how learned or how powerful such
kingdom and such nation may be. If they will stand opposite the
designs of Christ, if they will hinder the spread of the gospel, if they
will endeavor to suppress the circulation of the Scriptures, if they
forbid the liberty of conscience, if they endeavor to maintain a sys-
tem which his honor and his truth require to be destroyed, let
them do what they will, their doom is sealed, and their destruction is
certain.

But, my brethren, we wish you to think, not of nations, but of
individuals ; we wish you to think, not of Popish countries, butof yoitr-
selves, and to remember your own danger, and that the Savior has
said, " As for these mine enemies that would not that I should reign
over them, bring them forth, and slay them before my face."
If you cannot conquer, let us ask another question:
Can you endure him ? This is his own inquiry — " Can thy heart
endure, or can thy hand destroy, when I shall deal with thee ? " And
it is answered by every thing in Scripture ; or rather, indeed, it is
not. " It is a fearful thing to M into the hands of the living God ; "
but none of the sacred writers attempt to tell us hoiv fearful ; they
felt they were unable. His is a wrath accompanied with Almighty
power, and with boundless resources. As for the rage of man, it is
limited ; limited as to time, hmited by the very nature of the subject,
limited by the capacity of the infliction. But there are no such limits
here. Men may destroy the body, and there is no more that they can
do ; but there is eternity in this punishment ; there is the soul with
him to destroy ; yea, there is the body to be revived to share in the
misery. " He is able to destroy both body and soul in hell ; I say
unto you, Fear him."

If you cannot conquer, or if you cannot endure, let me ask —
Can you escape from him ? Is there a moral possibility of your
escaping from him ? Does not the truth of God forbid the supposi-
tion ? Does not the justice of God forbid it ? Does not the holiness
of God forbid it ? Has he not said, " The unrighteous shall not inherit
13



194 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

the kingdom of God ? " Are these his sayings ? and is he a faithful
God ? Why, the only hope that some of you can indulge in, is a hope
that God will be found a liar, and his Word a lie. What a forlorn
hope is this ! What a world of evidence have you to overcome before
you can lie down and enjoy repose ! Or is there any physical possibil-
ity of your escape ? Civil justice is no more omniscient than it is
omnipotent. How often do criminals elude justice ! How frequently,
when they are pursued, do the}'' conceal themselves ! When they have
been in prison, they have broke through the walls ; and when they have
been fettered, they have filed off their chains and have escaped. But,
my brethren, there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against
the Lord. " He that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that
escapeth of them shall not be delivered." " Though they dig into
hell, thence shall mine hand take them ; though they climb up to
heaven, thence will I bring them down ; and though they hide them-
selves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence ;
and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence
will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them ; and though they
go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the
sword, and it shall slay them ; and I will set mine eyes upon them for
evil, and not for good." " How," says the apostle — " How can we
escape if we neglect so great salvation ? "
Let us notice —

III. The POSSIBILITY of being against him. For there are many,
who will be ready to say. Why, he was raised up from the dead by
the glory of the Father ; he dieth no more ; death hath no more domin-
ion over him ; the heavens have received him ; and he himself said,
" I am no more in the world ; " how, then, can any oppose him now ?
To this we answer, that, consistently with these admissions, there is a
sense in which he is now in the world, so that if you wish to show your
dislike towards him you can do it, and if you wish to show your love
you can do it.

Observe, first, he has a people, and they that persecute them perse-
cute liim. Witness his address to Saul of Tarsus ; " Saul, Saul,"
said he, " why persecutest thou me ? " He was not persecuting him
personally, but relatively, in his ministers, and in his followers. It
would be in vain for you to say to a man, " I do not injure you," and
then wound him in the arm or the foot. Why, are not his members
himself ? And our Savior says, " He that toucheth you, toucheth the
apple of mine eye." It would be in vain for one to say, " I am not
against you," and then injure your wife or your children. Why, they



OPPOSITION TO CHRIST. 195

are you. And Christians are his bride, and thev are his children;
and he will avenge himself of their persecutors and of his own. Hence
says David, " He has bent his bow, and made ready his arrow, to
shoot the persecutors."

This opposition very early begun. You remember that Cain siew
his brother Abel ; and wherefore did he slay him ? Because his works
were evil, and his brother's righteous. The principle, therefore, is not
confined to any age of the world ; the nature of real godliness is always
the same, and will provoke the resentment of human nature, which
also is always the same. Acts, indeed, may vary according to circum-
stances. The spirit of our constitution and government is fiiendly to
tlie rights of individuals; our profession and religion, therefore, does
not expose us io the penalties of death, and stripes, and imprisonments,
and fines. J>ut our forefathers endured all this : and we should call
those days to remembrance, and be grateful for our own advantao-es.
" But the tongue can no man tame," saith the Scripture ; and " out
of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." And when the
mouth is silent from decency, the carnal mind is enmity against God ;
and there will be always instances of persecution, therefore, which no
legislation will be able to restrain or prevent ; showing that as it was
then, so it is now — they that are after the flesh, persecute them that
are after the Spirit.

Again ; he has a cause in the world ; and this cause is the gospel
of our salvation, infinitely dear to him, and every way beneficial to
man, whether considered individually or socially, personally or rela-
tively. We defy any history to produce an instance of an abiding,
consistent, real change of character and of nature, accomplished
where the truth as it is in Jesus, or the doctrine of the cross, has been
denied or rejected, in any province, or village, or individual. But
what was accomplished in the first ages of Christianity ? What mar-
vellous changes ! Did not Corinth know ? Did not Rome know ?
Did not Thessalonica know? Did they not always witness these
amazing transformations of character for the better ? And to this
very day the same results follow. There the gospel came not in
word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assu-
rance. We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.
The drunkard has become sober, and the swearer has learned to fear
an oath, and the Sabbath breaker has " called the Sabbath a delight ;
the holy of the Lord, honorable ; " and men who were before a bur-
den to themselves, and a curse to the neighborhood, delivered from
the tyranny of their evil appetites and passions, and from the stings
of a guilty conscience, have been called, and softened, and refreshed ;



196 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

and having obtained mercy, have found it their happiness to dif-
fuse it.

And yet how this gospel has heen opposed ! When the mariner's
compass and other useful discoveries were made known in our country,
how were they hailed in their errand I But how has it been with the
gospel, which is infinitely the greatest blessing which the human race
ever possessed ? How has it been opposed as if it were a pestilence
that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that cometh at noon day !
Why ? My brethren, the secret can be explained. The gospel is the
enemy of self and sin. The gospel offends the pride of human nature,
by considering all upon a level naturally, and affording only the same
salvation for all, regardless of any difference of station or of charac-
ter ; and it excludes all boasting, so that if any man glory he must
glory in the Lord.

And it also offends because of its sanctifying influence. Men love
to be lawless ; they love to stand with David's vain ones, who said,
" With our lips we will prevail ; our tongues are our own ; who is
lord over us ? " Many of them indeed may be willing to part with
those sins, to which they have no temptation in their constitution or in
their external calling ; but the gospel requires you to pluck out a
right eye, and to cut off a right arm, and to part with your bosom
lusts. There are some who would be willing, like Herod, to do many
things if Herodias was still allowed them. But the fact is, the gospel
allows no sensual indulgences ; it teaches " to deny all ungodliness and
worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present
world."

A(i-ain ; he has also a providential agency on earth ; and the dispen-
sations of his providence are designed to promote the purposes of his
o-race. He does all that is done in the affairs of nations and of indi-
viduals. It is he that makes our cups run over, or that breaks our
cisterns, so that they can hold no water. It is he that gives us health,
or sends sickness. It is he that suffers our children to be about us,
or destroys the hopes of man. All these are designed to allure us to
liimself, or to constrain us to seek a better, even a heavenly country,
and to forsake the foolish and live. But all this, you see, is vain ; men
oppose him in his smiles and in his frowns ; and they say by their
tempers, if not by their lips, " Depart from us, for we desire not the
knowledge of thy ways."

IV. Let us notice the evidence of being against him. For if it
be allowed to be possible that men can be against him, there are some
who seem to think that it is a very impvbable thing. So it has fre-



OPPOSITION TO CHRIST. 19T

quently been supposed, and some of the heathen morahsts have said,
that if ever virtue appeared visible, it would engage the esteem and
admiration of all mankind. There was one exception to this opinion.
Socrates differed from his brethren in many particulars : and Socrates,
having expressed his idea of a perfect character, ventured to predict
the treatment he would be likely to meet with if he appeared in our
world. He contended that his practice would be so peculiar, that his
reproofs would be so unwelcome, that his endeavors to reform and
reclaim men would be so importunate and irksome, that mankind,
too degenerate to bear either his example or his reproof, instead of
loving would hate him, and probably persecute him, and (how
remarkable that he should use the word ! not put him to death, but)
crucify Mm.

Now was this a judgment according to truth. Such a character did
appear in our world ; he was the image of the invisible God ; he went
about doing good, and good only. And how was he received ? He
was " despised and rejected of men." "He was in the world, and
the Avorld was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came
unto his own, and his own received him not." "The world," said he
to the Jews, " cannot hate you ; but me it hateth, because I testify
that its deeds are evil." " Marvel not, if the world hate you ; you
know that it hated me before it hated you."

" I would not have been against him," some are ready to say, " if
I had lived in the days of his flesh." So the Jews said while they
were adorning the tombs of the good prophets their fathers had per-
secuted ; they said, " Had we lived in the days of our fathers we
would not have persecuted them," while they were involved in a
course far more criminal. Their ancestors had only shed the blood of
God's servants, while ther/ were imbruing their hands in the blood of
his own Son.

Again ; when you hear of persons being against Christ, you think
of tyrants, of Neros, Julians, and Voltaires, of infidels, profligates
and blasphemers, of murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers ;
all these beings are against him. But do not deceive yourselves ;
the charge comprehends many characters distinguished by nothing of
all this ; the charge embraces thousands who never swore an oath in
their lives, thousands who never broke a promise to their fellow-
creatures, perhaps, in their lives, thousands who have regularly
attended on the means of grace, who have always on the Sabbath
repaired to the house of God to hear the preaching of the Word ;
and therefore, perhaps, there may be some — oh ! my God, there may
be many in this very assembly ; for what says he who cannot be



198 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

deluded, and who cannot deceive ? " He that is not with me is against
me."

You have heard much of antichrist. The word signifies against
Christ ; and this has been apphed to Popery, and very justly, for what
can be more against Christ than nearly the Avhole of their system ?



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 22 of 45)